Thousands of years old and still a killer in 2015, tuberculosis is one awesome disease. Ask a younger person and they probably could not tell you much about it, but it still strikes fear in the heart of anyone over 50 as they remember the stories of people being sent to sanatoriums, away from loved ones for months at a time, and for some, never to return. At age 80, my mother in law still wept for her mother who died of TB when she was only 13 years of age. Can it still be fatal? Yes it can, and it can lay dormant and display no symptoms. Babies and Grandmas and everyone in between can be infected. TB does not discriminate.1 in 3 worldwide has the disease and 1.3 million die of it annually and unecesarily. Yep, that’s scary. The good news for us is that it is also diagnosable, curable, and best of all, preventable.
Keep that scary feeling in your belly for a moment and consider the mother in a region of the world where diagnosis, cure and prevention is not a given. Picture yourself holding a dying child, maybe your son or your grandchild. This is still the reality for too many people. But what can you do? Plenty! Contact your MP and ask him or her to please encourage the government to recommit to an astoundingly successful program, TB Reach, which is under threat of cancellation. This program was initiated in 2009 by the Canadian government – something of which we can be proud. The program is about innovation and reaching the hardest to reach people who have TB. I was thrilled when my MP, Murray Rankin, personally canvassed the honourable Christian Paradis in this regard. I am going to ask him to do this again as time is running out and we need this to be funded to the tune of $120 million over five years. TB can be eradicated, not just in Canada, but around the world. Please do your part, pick up a pen, write a quick email or phone or tweet your MP. Do it *before* World TB Day on March 24th. Remember, it is an election year!